By Jinhoon Lee
Ariz Raymundo Olan, a third-year theology student from the Philippines, was one of the outstanding young leaders that participated in the 2018 International Young Leaders Assembly (IYLA). He applied to the program seeking to develop his leadership style, to meet people of different culture and nationalities, and to deepen his love for service. Ariz said his decision was motivated by his passion in areas like “youth-empowerment, livelihood projects, peace-building, and an advocate of human rights.”
IYLA is a partnership-driven leadership program that Global Peace Foundation has been a part of since its inception in 2012 to provide young leaders with the platform to gain experience and tools to develop moral and innovative leadership and form networks to serve their own community and global society at large.
Every summer in the United States, IYLA brings young leaders together under the common vision of moral and innovative leadership. Under such a shared vision, the program supports young leaders to build character and skills to bring both ethical and effective solutions for the most pressing challenges facing the world today. “As a Global Ambassador, we are called to go to the peripheries, to the marginalized, to those people who are poor in spirit, poor in their basic needs and to those people who feel alone and lonely, unloved and being rejected,” Ariz shared.
As a theology student at the Divine Word Seminary Tagaytay, Ariz brought a unique perspective to the program. Referencing the role of his faith in giving him purpose, he pointed out that leadership is partly about “our in-depth and sincere relationship to God, to ourselves and to others.” Not everyone would share the same view on leadership. However, it is this passion for service and his belief in the power of ethical leadership that he believes can bring people together for a better and peaceful world.
“We have a lot of differences but it is an invitation for me to deeply see what is common among us and begin with that to establish a good relationship throughout the assembly until we go back to our own community. Yes, we have a lot of differences but what is common to us—that brought us to unity—is our desire to bring a positive impact, not only to our own respective communities but to the world at large.”
A lifestyle of ethical leadership inevitably brings challenges. A strong and clear sense of direction and goals move us forward, but it is still difficult for us to maintain our motivation and drive. In this regard, Ariz shares that IYLA became a “life-changing experience” that opened “a new door and opportunities for me to see my potential to make a difference, to deepen my love for service, to be more motivated and passionate to be part of making the world home of peace, love, faith, unity, and prosperity.”
Young leaders around the world have powerful visions and make an effort to bring positive transformations to the world. The International Young Leaders Assembly encourages these exceptional individuals to look beyond their differences, expand their network on a global scale, and contribute something impactful to the world together. As a non-partisan, non-sectarian youth leadership program, IYLA provides opportunities for young people with the mind of service to work together under the shared values and goals to become leaders to make a positive impact to improve the lives of people.
Be a part of the next International Young Leaders Assembly in Washington D.C. and New York City this August. Learn more.